The Daily Agenda: The apology tour is picking up steam
Don’t become the main character during slow season … The courts are working overtime … And this is America, you can just say swear words.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs put out an apology video yesterday that would have made a killer Day 1 response to the second jury trial in which Senate staffer Talonya Adams won a multimillion-dollar settlement against the Senate by arguing Hobbs’ decision to fire amounted to racial and sexual discrimination.
In the video, Hobbs acknowledged that her initial response, which included wrongly blaming the firing on Republicans and continuing to attack Adams, sucked — or, as she put it, was “shortsighted,” “unnecessarily defensive” and “fell short of taking real responsibility.” She also gave the boot to her campaign manager, Andrew Markoff — or he “chose to step down,” as the campaign put it to Republic reporter Stacey Barchenger.
“I have missed personal and leadership opportunities to fight harder for racial equity … For too long, I have allowed myself to only show up where it’s comfortable … I need to be more than an ally. I need to be your advocate,” she said.
Hobbs “unequivocally” apologized to Adams — an apology that was marred by misspelling “Talonya” as “Tonya” in a press release and undercut by the fact that Hobbs didn’t apologize to the staffer personally.
With the atonement video, Hobbs clearly hoped to put the issue to bed, once and for all. And without a viable other option, most Democrats seem prepared to let her.
But Adams isn’t ready to forgive and forget. She scheduled a press conference to respond to the video later today.
Of course, there’s no appeasing the Kelli Wards of the world. The AZGOP chair with a history of supporting notable white supremacists used the apology to again call Hobbs a racist and was joined by a chorus of suddenly woke Republicans like U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar.
Welcome to the board: Thomas Galvin, an attorney, was named the newest member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, replacing Steve Chucri, who resigned after some embarrassing leaked comments. Before any election conspiracists get too excited, Galvin already confirmed he agrees that President Joe Biden won Maricopa County and Arizona.
No such thing as bad ideas anymore: Four Arizona Stop the Stealers — two who are in Congress, one who’s in the legislature and one who wants back in the legislature — are still promoting election fraud claims and pushing for “election integrity” laws. U.S. Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs, Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem and former lawmaker and current Arizona Senate hopeful Anthony Kern will likely find a willing audience with Republican voters, the Republic’s Robert Anglen reports. Kern, who was at the Capitol, though not inside, during the Jan. 6 insurrection, now says the event was a “hoax” that was “set up by Democrats.”
"That's Mark Finchem," GOP consultant Christine Bauserman told the Republic. "He never gives up on (an) idea, no matter how bad it is."
Speaking of bad ideas and hoaxes: Finchem will hold another not-official “hearing” on election fraud, this time centering around the absurd theory, promoted by one person in an anonymous email, that 35,000 ballots were “injected” into vote counts in Pima County. The last unofficial hearing drew big names of Big Liars like Rudy Giuliani, though this one seems to only include a few of his fellow election-denying colleagues.
A blast from the electoral past: The Arizona Supreme Court will hear a case about whether one member of the Arizona Corporation Commission, instead of a majority of its members, can request documents from a company related to election spending. The case arose when now-former commissioner Bob Burns sought Arizona Public Service’s parent company’s financial records after the company spent millions in dark money to elect his energy-regulating colleagues.
In other court news (but federal this time): The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled against Democrats, deciding that elections officials don’t have to give voters time after an election to fix missing signatures on their mail-in ballots. The case related to differing policies for missing signatures compared to mismatched signatures.
Apparently the courts are the only branch working during the slow season: An Arizona case, Shinn v. Ramirez, came before the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday. In the case, two prisoners, who were sentenced to death, say they should be allowed to present evidence about how their cases were handled by their attorneys, while the state is blocking that option.
Really, these judges don’t stop working: Much like the City of Phoenix, Tuesday’s federal court ruling on the Biden vaccine mandate led the Maricopa Community Colleges to pause their vaccine requirement, which had a Jan. 7 deadline, the Republic’s Alison Steinbach reports. The three state universities, which had a similar justification for their requirements, haven’t made any changes to their policies yet.
The Arizona legislative session is right around the corner. If you know someone who starts paying attention to state politics when it matters most, share the Arizona Agenda with them. We’ll keep them up to date come January.
Pay them better: As part of its plan to mitigate increased wildfires, which was the subject of a special legislative session this year, the state will use more crews made up of prisoners to help thin vegetation, KJZZ’s Ron Dungan reports.
Tweeting through it: Gov. Doug Ducey continued to criticize the Biden administration for inaction at the border in the Yuma area, taking aim at Vice President Kamala Harris for the current crisis.
Moving on up: Biden nominated January Contreras, an attorney who was the 2018 Democratic nominee for Arizona attorney general, for a Department of Health and Human Services role as assistant secretary for children and families.
Rest in peace: A man in Surprise who was fully vaccinated and immunocompromised died from COVID-19, before he had access to a booster or third dose, Audrey Dutton reports in the Arizona Mirror. His family wants people to know that their precautions and vaccination status (or lack thereof) affect others, even if they, like Buddy Fowler, follow all the guidelines to stay safe.
Some weekend reading material: The Arizona Daily Star launched a series this week about the increasing number of migrant deaths in the desert near the Arizona-Mexico border, with death rolls this year outpacing previous years. The Star, along with KJZZ, also published a series about sewage flooding the streets in popular beach destinations in and around Guaymas, Sonora.
The Arizona Department of Health Services released new data comparing the numbers of people who caught COVID-19 and those who died from it based on vaccination status. The Arizona numbers, from October data, fall similarly to national data: Those who are unvaccinated were almost four times more likely to test positive for the virus and more than 15 times more likely to die from it than vaccinated people.
It’s a time-honored tradition to say an expletive about the president, depending on how you feel about who’s in office. Certainly, there was plenty of “Fuck Donald Trump” going around, complete with a song saying the same. But for some reason, “let’s go Brandon” has taken the place of just saying “Fuck Joe Biden.” Just say it! It’s weirder not to. Anyway, the Arizona Republican Party’s Christmas ornament says “let’s go Brandon” on it this year, and we suppose it would be uncouth to have an errant f-word on your Christmas tree.